Business

China's retail giant Alibaba cleared for HK listing: Reports

HONG KONG: Chinese online retail titan Alibaba has been given the go-ahead to list shares in Hong Kong, reports said yesterday, in what could be the city's biggest IPO in almost a decade.

Approval for the sale will also give the city's financial authorities a huge boost as Hong Kong is battered by months of pro-democracy protests that have tarnished its image for security and hammered the Hang Seng Index.

Asia's biggest company is set to kick off a week-long roadshow as it looks to garner interest from institutional and retail investors, said Hong Kong's South China Morning Post, which is owned by Alibaba.

It added, citing unnamed sources, that the share price will be agreed on Nov 20, with trading in the firm expected in the week of Nov 25.

Bloomberg News reported speculation on trading floors that the share sale could be affected by protests that are wracking the city, with the central business district among the areas targeted by demonstrations.

Alibaba, which is already listed on New York's Nasdaq, had planned to list in the summer but called it off owing to the city's long-running pro-democracy protests and the China-US trade war.

If realised, the US$15 billion (S$20 billion) IPO would be the biggest since insurance giant AIA garnered US$20.5 billion in 2010. However, it will be lower than the US$20 billion it had aimed to raise initially.

The listing also comes after the city's exchange tweaked the rules to allow double listings, while Chief Executive Carrie Lam had also been pushing Alibaba's billionaire founder Jack Ma to sell shares in the city. - AFP

BUSINESS & FINANCE